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Old 14 July 2017, 08:53   #1
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Amiga CF - WHDLoad query

Hi all

I will shortly be receiving my CF IDE 4gb expansion complete with lots pf games that are launched via the WHDLoad method. I have read that the standard 2MB A1200 is insufficient to play many of the games as WHDLoad require a portion of this memory.

My question: Isn't the 4gb CF IDE expansion supposed to be a replacement "hard drive"? If so, why can games not be copied and run directly from the CF drive without WHDLoad being involved at all (and therefore not consuming valuable memory)?

Apologies if I have missed something obvious.

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Old 14 July 2017, 09:20   #2
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Most games are designed to be run from floppy by booting from the floppy disk. These disks have a custom boot block and a custom file system. Custom file system means that files are not accessible by AmigaDOS, only the code in the custom boot block knows how to load data from this disk. Because there are no files for AmigaDOS, there is nothing which could be copied to harddisk. Additionally many of those floppy games have copy protections which makes it even harder to copy anything from such disks.

To make such games accessible via AmigaDOS a coder has to re-engineer and rewrite the disk loading routines of the game. (This work is usually called "cracking".) The end product of this "cracking" is either a floppy disk which can be copied with normal disk copy utilities or a WHDLoad slave which can load game data from a disk image on HDD. Very seldomly "cracking" turns game data into seperate files which could be copied to HDD and run without WHDLoad.

Additionally WHDLoad is kind of a hardware degrader which makes games run on hardware they were not designed for. For example it makes games which need a plain A1200 run on an accelerated A1200. Or it makes games designed for an A500 run on an A1200. A WHDLoad slave can also fix known bugs in the game.
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Old 14 July 2017, 16:16   #3

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You still can install games that originally had Hard Drive support on your CF if you wish, and then launch them without using WHDLoad.
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Old 19 July 2017, 09:57   #4
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Also, you'll find that having the hard drive (CF card) attached in itself will take some memory as buffers are allocated and so on, and the fact that booting from floppy rarely allows the full OS to start, whereas booting from the hard drive requires the OS to boot to Workbench, which also takes up more memory that wouldn't be taken if the machine booted directly from the game's floppy disk.

Having said that, many games should still work, as there are plenty of games that run on a standard A500 with 512KB of RAM, leaving 1.5MB of your A1200's RAM for the OS and WHDLoad. Preloading won't be possible, but many games should work that way.
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Old 19 July 2017, 15:37   #5

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You can do a "minimal" boot , loading nothing but the shell. It saves some memory, and I manage to load about 90% of the ECS WHDLoads with just 2 mbs. But then you have to use the shell to load games instead of the GUI.

I don't think AGA games will work though.
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Old 19 July 2017, 16:20   #6
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Originally Posted by Shatterhand View Post
You can do a "minimal" boot , loading nothing but the shell. It saves some memory
But buffers from partition mounting will still be "eating memory", and if you have PFS3 on the partition, it eats more than FFS.
On a tight memory system (2MB), I would recommend having only one partition using FFS.
Until you get some Fast RAM into that thing. A must.
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